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The Secret Life of an Adoptee


“I can’t believe I’m doing this. She is not going to be happy. I have known her for 38 years and I can read her like a book. But I have to tell her. My body can no longer hold this secret within it.” I thought as I sat there attempting to eating breakfast. My stomach felt like it was going to eject all of its contents at any given moment.

Trying my best to act normal, I carried on small talk while looking for any possible cue that it was the right time. Is there even such a thing as a right time for conversations like this? I am not sure, but I have been covertly planning to have this conversation with her on this specific day for weeks now. I have to just do it. If I back out, I will be inflicting this cruel punishment on my body again and again. My carefully planned words are sitting on my tongue waiting to pop out just like a jack-in-the-box, but every time they are all wound up and ready to emerge, fear pushes them back inside and I swallow them down with a gulp of orange juice. Followed by another bite of gravy drenched biscuits.

She is completely unaware of the bomb that I am about to drop in her lap.



She warms up her cup of coffee that she has been sipping on all morning in the microwave then carries on with mundane post-breakfast tasks – cleaning up the dishes, wiping down the counters, and considering what we will eat for lunch. She is completely unaware of the bomb that I am about to drop in her lap. I wish that as an adult, I felt I could freely express myself to my mom, but I don’t. I never have. I’ve always felt that I needed to present myself to her in a certain way to protect her from the reality of who I am.  I’m also keenly aware that she and I view many things from very different perspectives and I am certain that her reaction to me opening Pandora’s box is not going to be a good one. I have never been so afraid to tell her something in my entire life!

My words are all wound up again and ready to pop. Is this the moment to let them erupt? I think so. It’s time to spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, face the music, and tell all. I licked my licks preparing to speak, but the phone rang at just the wrong time. Instead of being saved by the bell, I had been blocked by it.

My mom answered and immediately her face told me that it was bad news. My mom’s niece, who was raised with her like a sister, called to let us know that her husband had passed away. I couldn’t believe it. Not that I couldn’t believe he had passed away, he had been ill after all, but I could not believe my luck. Just as I was about to have a conversation with my mom that was 38 years and 3 glasses of OJ in the making, the phone rings to inform her about a family death. Go figure. What am I going to do now?! I know she will be all upset and nervous about when everything is going to happen and who needs to take care of what and thinking of all the family she needs to call and a host of other things that have to happen when there’s a loved one that has passed away. This is not a good time. This conversation will have to wait. But it can’t wait. I have to do this now. I can no longer carry the weight of this secret. I have to tell my mom that I found my mom… 10 years ago…

3 thoughts on “The Secret Life of an Adoptee Leave a comment

  1. Jamie~
    You are a very brave soul to tell your A mom in person about your B mom!!! I wrote a letter to my parents back when my dad was alive. My dad (who was also adopted but never wanted to find his birth family) read my letter over and over to my mom. She was so fearful that I would walk away and never talk to them again! That did not happen, but it certainly is difficult having a relationship with people who are so different from me!

    Like

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